Case Study

Solving the “Last Mile” Problem of Technology, Tools and Talent in the Social Sector

By Ben Berres
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Project Evident is testing a new approach to evidence building that places social sector practitioners in the driver’s seat, with the goal of increasing the supply of outcomes-producing programs for communities who need them. One critical piece is that building evidence of outcomes requires technology, analytical tools, and talent for effective and timely use of data. But the social sector has long experienced what is known in the logistics and telecommunications worlds as the “last mile” problem, where available technology, tools, and talent are simply not making their way to the hands of nonprofit practitioners. In this brief, we explore some of the barriers that have led to this problem in the nonprofit sector, and what Project Evident is doing to help.

“We are trapped in a mindset that stigmatizes spending beyond direct program work. This mindset keeps many nonprofit leaders from recognizing and pursuing the investments needed to drive long-term impacts.”

— Fred Ali, President and CEO of the Weingart Foundation and Antony Bugg-Levine, CEO of the Nonprofit Finance Fund in the Summer 2016 Stanford Social Innovation Review